TThe mixture of anger and desperation was clearly written all over the face of hiago Silva. “It’s a shame. It’s hard to endure such impressions,” commented the visibly battered captain of the Brazilian national soccer team at the shocking extent racismthat the record world champion had to endure in Paris: “It happens again and again. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like we can change the attitudes of these people.”
The spectators in the stands ensured that the strong performance of the Seleção in the 5:1 (4:1) against World Cup participants Tunisia became a minor matter in the Parc des Princes. The low points were a banana toss at goalscorer Richarlison, a downpour of projectiles as Pedro scored the final score, constant laser pointer attacks and booing of the Brazilian anthem.
“It needs a change”
It almost seemed as if the Brazilian players’ anti-racism sign was what really incited the mob. “Without our black players, we wouldn’t have any stars on our jerseys,” read the banner that the pros of the five-time World Cup champions presented before kick-off – obviously in vain.
The incidents at Brazil’s last friendly before the World Cup in Qatar (20 November to 18 December) left a shocked captain. “Hopefully these people will understand at some point that it doesn’t work that way,” said Thiago Silva: “That’s the past, it needs a change. Hopefully the public will realize that these things are unacceptable.”
The Brazilian association CBF, which lamented “another episode of racism in football”, also expects this. National coach Tite could hardly believe what happened to him and his protégés. “I was confused,” said the coach: “At first I thought it was just a lack of respect. After all, football is a sport for everyone.”
Richarlison can no longer believe that. The striker of top English club Tottenham Hotspur has had enough of empty phrases and calls for rigorous action by the associations. “As long as they just go ‘blah blah blah’ and don’t impose penalties, it’s going to be the same – every day, everywhere,” the 25-year-old tweeted.
At least it looks as if the Brazilians can give their answer on the pitch in Qatar. Seven straight wins and a total of 15 games without defeat neymar and colleagues into a hot title contender.